Friday, 27 June 2014

I Wonder...

When you make conversations with your child, you can ask her several wonder questions, for example, when you see the sunset, ask her ‘I wonder where the sun goes’, or when you are walking up a slope, ask her ‘I wonder why it is harder to go up the slope and easier to go down’, or when it rains, ask her ‘I wonder where the rain comes from’. Ask her these questions when you see it in the environment with her and not out of context.

Of course you know the answers to most of the workings of the world, but don’t start to explain it to your child or provide readymade answers. The wonder questions here have a very important role to play. They draw your child’s attention to things, arouse and develop her curiosity and make it the habit of her mind to give everything a thought which later on helps her get the answers herself.

When you ask a question like ‘I wonder where the sun goes’, just wait for a few minutes and hear the explanation your child has to give. Of course your very young child won’t have the right explanation but enjoy the logic of her young and developing mind! She might say and she will say it confidently ‘It goes down in the sea’,  ‘It mixes with the sky and disappears’, etc. At this point please don’t say ‘It doesn’t make sense’, ‘How can it be’ and other statements of this kind. Simply say, ‘Hmm, interesting’ and please leave it at that. I know it’s hard to leave it at that, but do so as you don’t want to spoil the joy of learning and discovery when your child comes across this information while reading a book, learning in school, etc. She will then connect back to the wonder question she had thought about in the past.

Refrain from making your child a storehouse of information. Focus more on inquiry-based learning, which is by far superior as it develops inquisitiveness, research skills, thinking skills and joyful and lifelong independent learning.

If your child is interested in finding out facts, refer to books and Internet alongside her and help her find answers. You can also tell her what you know and support it with videos and books. Don’t forget to be excited about it- you will pass on your enthusiasm to her which will stay with her in years to come.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

The Number Grid

A very important tool to develop number sense is the Number Grid (1 to 100). You can either make it yourself or print it out from the Internet and ideally laminate it. All you have to do is put it up in your child’s room. Even if you think your 2 year old won’t make sense of the higher numbers, believe in this idea! Remember not to underestimate the capability of your child.

How to use it?
Sky is the limit. When you talk about anything involving numbers draw your child’s attention to that number. The various opportunities would be age of people, money, temperature, distance, speed, quantity, height, weight, time, etc. Keep it in the context of real life especially in younger years.

For example,

·      If it’s your birthday, point to the number your age is and then point to the number your child’s age is. Show her how much older you/her sibling/her grandparents are than her.

·      Point to the number to show the amount it costs to get her the candy as compared to an ice cream.

·      When you travel show her how much colder/warmer it will be out there compared to where you are.

·      Make up simple number stories and ask her to solve the sums using the grid: if you had 10 candies and you gave away 4 to your friend, how many are you left with? Show her to move down 4 spaces from 10 on the grid.

Some of the concepts it aids in developing are:
Ascending/Descending order
Number Comparison (Greater than/Less than/Equal to)
Odd/Even numbers
Skip Counting
Tens and Ones
Base 10
Mental Calculations
Number Patterns

The above list is for you to know that the number grid is a significant tool to develop important math concepts. Don’t think that your child will become over dependent on it. She will be able to use different strategies and mental math techniques more easily if she knows how the basic number system works. When you sit down to help her with her Math homework, do take the help of number grid.